“The most rewarding part of my job
as APA general counsel has been
translating psychological science to
the courts,” says Nathalie Gilfoyle.
APA general counsel funds legal training on law and psychology
Nathalie Gilfoyle has created a fund at the University of Virginia School of Law.
As a University of Virginia law student in the
1970s, APA General Counsel Nathalie Gilfoyle,
JD, worked as a research assistant for professor
Richard Bonnie, who now directs UVA’s
Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy.
This early work at the intersection of law and
psychology planted the seed of a lifelong career
interest for Gilfoyle.
So at her 40th law school reunion in 2014,
she established a fund to help current students
get similar research experience and learn from
top experts in the fields of law and psychology.
The Nathalie Gilfoyle Fund for Law
and Psychology has already funded two
UVA School of Law students’ summer
research assistantships. In 2014, Carrington
Giammittorio worked with Bonnie to update
the book “Criminal Law: Cases and Materials,”
researching such topics as mental health,
competence and criminal responsibility. In
2015, Kathryn Payne worked under Bonnie’s
direction on a “restatement of the law” on
children — a project of the American Legal
Institute that aims to inform lawyers and
judges about case law that affects children and
APA has also benefitted from the
arrangement. Both students spent time working with Gilfoyle on the amicus
curiae briefs that APA files to help explain relevant psychological research to the
courts. APA has filed briefs in cases involving marriage equality, false confessions,
eyewitness misidentification, the death penalty and affirmative action, among
UVA also plans to use a portion of the fund to support a new course aimed
at both law students and graduate students in psychology. Structured as an
interdisciplinary faculty and student colloquium, the course will bring students
from the two programs together to learn from guest experts about key topics in
psychology and the law.
There is a strong interdisciplinary foundation already in place, with several
professors sharing appointments and collaborating across the two fields, according
“The most rewarding part of my job as APA general counsel has been translating
psychological science to the courts,” she says. “My purpose in setting up the fund
is to provide resources for injecting that work into the training of both law and
— Lea Winerman